STRW local: Colloquia


The Restless Universe: From PTF to ZTF

Date: 20-06-2019
Time: 11:00 h
Author: Shrinivasan Kulkarni

Following the Big Bang the Universe was homogeneous in matter, energy and barren of chemistry. It is the stars which built up the periodic table. Astronomers have now identified several classes of cosmic explosions of which supernovae constitute the largest group. The Palomar Transient Factory (PTF) consisting of the 48-inch Oschin Schmidt-optics telescope (hosting a large field-of-view mosaic detector) and the Palomar 60-inch robotic telescope (initially equipped with an imaging CCD photometer) was designed to explicitly undertake an ambitious survey for supernovae and as a pilot project to systematically survey the dynamics optical night sky. The success of PTF lead to the Zwicky Transient Facility. The wide field of view (47 square degree camera) allows for a high rate of discovery. Robotic spectroscopy on the 60-inch (with a novel spectrograph) has enabled astronomers to routinely study infant supernovae and young transients. The scope of investigations has now widened to include binary and variable stars and small bodies in our Solar system. This talk will mainly focus on the experimental side and strategic choices that were made. ZTF is poised to become the stepping stone for the national flagship project, the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope.